14 Under-The-Radar Synth-Pop Acts We Loved In 2014

Carl Williott | December 9, 2014 5:30 am

5. Ramona Lisa

In a matter of months, Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek went from writing for Beyoncé to crafting an electro opera in miniature while hunkered down in hotel rooms and airport lounges. Under the Ramona Lisa name, Polachek recorded Arcadia entirely on her laptop while on tour — without even an external microphone. Considering the circumstances, you’d expect it to sound lo-fi and brittle, but it’s textured and dreamlike, and completely different from anything else on this list.

6. Kinky Love

On Kinky Love’s debut Promise EP, the Chicago act perfected a glamorously relaxed style of synth-pop, with Xoe Wise’s graceful coo floating alongside Dan Zima’s breezy keyboard lines, for the sonic equivalent of the effortlessly stylish beauty going, “What, this old thing? I just threw it on before I left!”

7. Sleep Thieves

With the name Sleep Thieves and an album called You Want The Night, you can guess this is music for the wee hours. The Irish trio’s sound comprises John Carpenter-style noir synths, Chromatics-level precision, and a dash of The Knife’s pulled-taffy vocals. The result would be perfect for a horror movie if it weren’t so celestial and hypnotic.

8. X priest X

X priest X (the x’s are silent) may hail from Florida, but their understated synth-pop is right at home on Swedish label Emotion. Imagine if you stretched “A Real Hero” into an entire EP, and that’s similar to what you have on Samurai, with Madeline Priest’s ballet-inspired approach to singing letting her voice traipse across Dave Kazyk’s still and sparkly foundations.